Heritage Bluffs Golf Club: Great Service, Facilities, and a Challenging Course

By Brendan O'Brien, Contributor

Channahon, IL - Need a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city? Well, Heritage Bluff Golf Club is just the place. Located on hour southwest of Chicago proper, the Dick Nugent designed layout is in Channahon, Illinois.

Driving up to the facility, it seems to be stuck in the middle of a cornfield, with no evidence that a golf course is present. Attendants wait to take your bag from your car and load them onto a cart.

The clubhouse, which is large for being a municipal course, has a small proshop and a lodge with a full menu. The food is great, with many locals coming to the lodge just to grab a bite to eat. One amenity, which Heritage Bluff offers, is a full locker room to change in. For the business traveler going from suit, to slacks and golf shirt, this can be a big plus when finding a place to play with clients.

The facility has a driving range with grass and carpeted tee boxes along with a large, well-manicured practice green. Lessons are available with one of the friendly professionals on staff.

Before the round begins, a starter is on hand to give instructions on the course layout and any special rules about cart driving and hazards. The starter is extremely knowledgeable on how the course should play and also guides players through the pin placement for the round. He also explains the tee boxes in which there is four sets of tee to choose from. From the tips, the course measures a hefty 7,200 yards while the next tee length is 6,500 yards. Two tee boxes are built in front for the beginners and short hitters.

Nugent made Heritage Bluffs from a conglomeration of a couple types of courses. The course is a traditional layout with tree-lined fairways and big greens in some stretches, while other parts of the course features wide-open links style holes. This give the player’s eye a lot to look at and experience even during a sub-par round. The course does not have any housing near it and roads are not seen anywhere.

The first hole, measuring 409 from the blue tees, is a links style hole that asks players to pull out the big stick right away. Long and straight away, measuring 380 yards, the key is to leave a level lie to the large inviting green. The fairway is flanked by two large bunkers on either side that tend to catch arrant tee shots. The best place to put the first shot of the round being down the middle of the fairway. With the green large and its sloping, the hole asks players to be long, accurate and patient.

The next five holes goes from wide-open links golf to holes lined by large trees and big bunkers. The best hole of the front nine is number seven. A dogleg to the right, this par-4 measures only 348 yards. This hole is well designed with a bunker stuck at the bend at about 200 yards from the tee. Big hitters need to be wary of biting too much off the bend as water waits on the left side of the fairway after the bunker at 230 yards. Along with the water working its way up the left side and uneven stances throughout the landing area, this approach is not for the faint of heart. The green, which has a huge hump in the center, provides little forgiveness when trying for the birdie. Any ball left on the wrong side of this putting surface will make it a tough par.

The eighth hole, the shortest par-3 on the course at 144 yards, looks like a breeze on paper but can be deadly in real life. A large elm overhangs on the left side giving the golfer something more to think about on the tee, especially when the pin is stuck on the narrow left side. A large bunker has all of the right side of the putting surface covered. A large ridge works itself around the back of the green, making it a must to be on the green for the par. The seventh, eighth and the relatively easy par-5 ninth hole, makes the last third of the front side a great place for good players to start scoring well.

The backside is highlighted by three tremendous par-4s starting with the 10th. A dogleg to the right, the first hole on this side slants sharply downhill. Measuring 351 yards, the key off the tee is accuracy. Working a long iron down the left side is the ideal as trees cover the right side as it gets farther away from the tee box. The wind tends to swirl here so any pin placement stuck behind the two left side bunkers makes the hole a tough par.

The 15th hole is much like the 10th but longer. Measuring only 30 yards longer, it seems much longer due to the water and marsh down the right side. Approach shots, which are usually not on even footing, look upon the course's largest bunker in between the pond that works its way up the right side. Anything shot into the green long or to the left will catch the bunker on the backside. Anything in the trap is bound for the toughest save on the course onto a slick moving green.

The last hole on the course is one of the best finishing holes in the area. Measuring 380 yards, the hole asks players to put the drive in between 220 and 250 yards in the middle of the fairway. Anything short of the mark has a dramatic uphill stance; anything long meets the extremely narrow bend. The approach shot is to a narrow green protected in front left and back right by a bunker. This hole is special because of the demand for accuracy from tee to green.

A visit to Heritage Bluffs is highlighted by great service, facilities and a well-designed, challenging course, making it a must play for any player.

Heritage Bluffs Golf Club
24355 W. Bluff Road
Channahon, IL
Phone: (815)467-7888

Brendan O'Brien, Contributor

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